The Pulse: The Beat Goes on for Tom and Leslie!
Dear GFC Community,
As our time for celebrating what God has done, is doing, and will do in the journey that is Grace Fellowship Church nears on November 3-4, I want to give you an update on our future!
As Pastor Emeritus, the elders have given Leslie and me the gracious gift of freedom regarding our future, including our place of residence. Let me give you a hint by highlighting some facts about our life history.
- I fell in love with Leslie Murphy in 1972 at a conference in Dallas, Texas called Explo ’72.
- My parents also became Christians at this event!
- Leslie and I married in 1973.
- Leslie and I moved to Dallas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary in 1974 after graduating from Purdue University.
- Rich, our first son, was born at Baylor hospital, just blocks from the seminary in 1977.
- Our first real church experience came at Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas as I served as youth pastor for five years under the mentoring of Gene Getz.
- We left for Johnson City in 1980 for this new church called Grace Fellowship Church.
- In 2004, I had a personal crisis and went to Dallas for an intensive evaluation and development experience called LEAD at The Center for Christian Leadership at DTS.
- Almost exactly a year later, our second son, Robbie, died in Dallas at the age of 24.
- Rich moved to Dallas in 2008 for work, and while there met a girl by the name of Ruth whose father, Dave, is a DTS graduate and pastor in the Dallas area. Ruth is now our daughter-in-law. They now have three girls: Abbie who is 4, Libbie who is 3, and Maggie who is 6 months old.
- Amanda, our daughter, received an invitation to a yearlong pharmacy residency at Dallas Children’s Hospital in 2010 and then was offered a full-time job. She met lifelong Dallas resident Ashton Hayse and they have been married for 4 years.
- Two years later, in 2013, to my shock and total surprise, l received the first Alumni Distinguished Service Award from Dallas Theological Seminary and was later invited to speak at a chapel service.
- This year, during my time away from GFC, we returned to Dallas 3 times for intensive counseling with the same people who helped us so much 14 years ago.
Can you guess where our future lies? Surprise… Dallas, Texas! We are in a transition over the next few weeks to take up residence near our children and grandchildren! Plans are also in the works for me to serve other pastors and leaders through Leadership Network and Dallas Theological Seminary as a volunteer.
I only gave one line referring to coming to Johnson City in 1980. This is our home where for 38 years we have “grown up” in so many ways. Your love for God and us has changed us forever. That seems to happen a lot around here and I am confident God will continue to do that in the days and years to come. We look forward to visits “home” as God permits!
I thank God for you all. You have, do, and will continue to mean so much to us!